Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were trying to bring national attention to the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriffs Department and its leader, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Through their media company Village Voice, the two had used reporting to expose how Arpaio and his deputies engaged in racial profiling, illegal search and arrest and both racist and sexist activities as well as mistreatment of prisoners, such as Arpaio’s infamous “tent city” detention camps in the desert. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and https://frontpageconfidential.com/fbi-arrest-michael-lacey-jim-larkin/
Arpaio was not happy with the two. He ordered a Grand Jury to convene in secret for the purpose of finding a reason to imprison them. Ironically it was a story ran in the Phoenix New Times, owned through village Voice by the two, about the secret Grand Jury that was the reason Arpaio had them arrested. Larkin and Lacey found about the Grand Jury but didn’t know what its purpose was. They were arrested in October of 2007 on charges of interfering with the Grand Juries investigation by revealing it.
Larkin and Lacey were held for 24 days before a judge freed them and dismissed the charges, finding that the Grand Jury- and therefore any warrants relating to it- was formed without just cause.
The nation was enraged by the imprisonment of two journalists simply for doing their job by an overbearing, unpopular and seemingly racist elected official. The two sued Maricopa County over the wrongful imprisonment and won, being awarded $3.7 million from County companies. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
The two took this money and started the Frontera Fund in response to Arpaio’s negative effects on the state of Arizona. The Frontera Fund fights for the first amendment of citizens wrongfully denied this right by the government. They are focused primarily on Latino victims, as Latinos were the group most targeted and effected by Arpaio’s 24 years of policing.
Arpaio was brought up on charges and found guilt after he lost re-election for a seventh term as sheriff in 2016. President Trump pardoned him and he is now running for the Senate with Trump’s endorsement. Arpaio was one of the first public figures to endorse Trump during his presidential bid and many feel there are “favors for favors” happening between the two in plain sight.
Larkin and Lacey continue to report on and speak against Arpaio, making sure the public knows as much of Arpaio’s record in office and in court as possible through Village Voice.